During yesterday's keynote address, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin drew applause from the audience when he announced that the commission was going to deny Skype's petition to apply the "Carterphone" rules to the mobile phone industry. The Carterphone rules were enacted in the 1960s to force the POTS industry to allow devices other than those provided by the old AT&T to connect to the network.
Martin said that it would be premature for the commission to add more requirements to wireless carriers now that so many operators have started embracing a more open environment. Specifically he said that the 700 MHz spectrum requirements for open access had caused many operators to recognize the benefits of open platforms for networks. Verizon Wireless, of course, has said it will open its entire network to devices and applications. In addition, he said that operators like T-Mobile USA, Sprint and AT&T will embrace openness with applications.
Skype later issued a response to the chairman's remarks expressing disappointment with the chairman's comments and that the petition was consistent with the recent 700 MHz auction.
"Without Commission oversight in the area, the FCC will have taken a step backward away from openness, and toward a policy of 'trust the carriers.' While we are cautiously optimistic that the carriers will deliver greater openness, unfortunately, if the FCC acts on the Chairman's recommendation, it will have given up any tools to protect consumers if they do not," says Christopher Libertelli, Skype's Senior Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs in a release.
- See all our photos of the keynotes in our slideshow
On the Hot Seat with Skype's Chris Libertelli. Interview
Skype petitions to FCC for open cellular access. Story